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Media Disclaimer Center, a news media watchdog site in Turkey, is pictured above. (Credit: Media Disclaimer Center)

A new media watchdog website based in Turkey claims to work toward creating “a more transparent media,” Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Hurriyet Daily News wrote about the website — Media Disclaimer Center — in a recent post.

Media Disclaimer Center publishes requests for corrections by the public and any related court orders, according to Hurriyet Daily News. Lawyer Þekip Hardal runs the site with two editors and “an advisory board.”

Hardal explained to Hurriyet Daily News:

“We don’t just publish corrections, we also put up news stories that have been corrected or denied. We write our own headlines too, so it’s more or less like a news website.”

“We also prepare reports on how many court-ordered corrections or reader requests for corrections were sent to each newspaper, column writer or reporter,” Hardal said.

As Hurriyet Daily News reported, in Turkey, members of the public can send in letters complaining to media outlets “if they think their personal rights have been violated in the piece.”

The media outlet in question is required to print the complaint “within three days;  if it does not, the objector can take the media outlet to court and obtain a court-ordered correction, which officially notes the objection and must by law be published in the same media outlet in which the offending piece originally appeared. Failure to do so can result in a fine up to 150,000 Turkish Liras,” which is roughly $93,400 U.S., according to currency translating site Xe.com.

According to Hurriyet News, the daily newspapers Hürriyet, Habertürk and Milliyet have had the most corrections.

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Hurriyet’s readers representative Faruk Bildirici commented that posting all corrections may not be the answer. “Not every correction means that they [the correction-requesting party] are right,” Bildirici is quoted as saying.

Yasemin Ýnceoðlu, a communications professor from Istanbul’s Galatasaray University contextualized Turkish media:

“The Turkish media falls behind in many ways when compared with Western media. We need to improve a lot more in many issues such as respecting one’s private and personal rights, recognizing the thin line between news and interpretation, validating a news item from at least two sources, not spreading or disseminating racism and not making news solely because of a claim to defend national interests.”

iMediaEthics has written to the Media Disclaimer Center for more information and will update with any response.

In a “Media Landscape” report published on the European Journalism Centre’s website, freelance journalist Ruken Barış claimed that “Mainstream media in Turkey is plagued with severe problems: media ownership is heavily concentrated, nationalist rhetoric and self-censorship is paramount and media are vulnerable against political powers (the military, the government etc).”

Because the media is owned largely by three conglomerates, there is “a very biased and extremely nationalistic media landscape, and all attempts of independent journalism practice (despite some positive developments) remain dangerous.”

Further, while the constitution protects the media from censorship, “the judiciary can censor all media outlets under constitutional provisions.”

Read the complete “Media Landscape” report here.

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New Media Watchdog Site Media Disclaimer Center in Turkey Handles Reader Complaints, Tracks Corrections, Seeks Transparency

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